Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu The battle for District Chief Executive (DCE) positions throughout the country has come under the spotlight again as applicants devise new means of winning the hearts of members of the appointments committee set up by the President.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the potential DCEs are inducing the selection committee with all manner of gifts including truckload of goats and sheep in order to attract the attention of the committee members.
The new approach has been necessitated by the abolition of the stipulated payment for application forms by the National Democratic Congress (NDC), following the outcry of anti-corruption crusaders of the tendency of corrupting the process.
President John Evans Atta Mills in his wisdom ordered the abolition of the fees - an action which put a stop to the derision that characterized the exercise at the time.
However, those who paid are yet to receive their refund.
Goats, sheep, tubers of yam and other tangible stuff are being dished out by persons seeking to be considered for this highly coveted position.
Questions are being asked however whether the items really get through to the committee members because a horde of middlemen have become very active, ostensibly shuttling between the government-appointed taskforce and the applicants.
The committee charged with the task is chaired by veteran politician, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu.
The assignment bestowed on the committee has been described as a rather difficult one because of the intensity of the lobbying involved.
While local political opinion leaders are busy lobbying the committee members, the party headquarters is also not left out, with traditional authorities in tow.
In the Ashanti Region, DAILY GUIDE has learnt about how tempers are rising over the issue of NDC parliamentary candidates who were promised DCE positions should they to fail win the seats.
By the time the vetting exercise ends, some personalities could become livestock farmers considering the number of goats, sheep and even cows changing hands.
The incidence of doling out gifts to win the hearts of committee members is more pronounced in the Northern parts of the country which is noted for livestock production.
Tamale is one of the municipalities with a high number of applicants, having registered over 20 persons in the queue of which only three would be shortlisted.
While some have pitched camp in Accra in an attempt to meet highly influential personalities so they can be considered for the coveted position, others have resorted to spiritual intervention.
The committee empanelled by President John Evans Atta Mills to consider persons for the DCE positions is on a countrywide tour.
It began sitting in the Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi before going to other places to continue with the Herculean task.
The exercise became necessary after President Mills ordered the previous DCEs and MCEs engaged under the Kufuor administration to vacate their posts.
These persons had been earlier asked to continue holding the position until further notice.
DCEs as representatives of the President are very influential persons in their areas of jurisdiction with the power to award certain classes of contracts.
There is an unfinished debate over whether or not the position should be made an elected one.
During the presidential debate series, it was one subject discussed by the candidates but by and large, they all appeared to agree that candidates for the positions should be voted for after a referendum.
With the positions limited in number, there is no doubt that by the end of the exercise, a lot of emotional bruises would have been inflicted on those whose hopes are dashed.
For now however, the gift-clad lobbying continues unabated as critics describe the gesture as disguised bribery for a political office.
By A.R. Gomda